Quality Chocolate

Chris Mirams is our pastry chef at The Picnic and he’s in charge of all our chocolate work. He always says that quality work comes from quality ingredients. When it comes to chocolate that means using Valrhona.

Valrhona has a long and interesting history and it’s an outfit that’s set a benchmark for not just quality of product but for how we think about chocolate. Valrhona was the first chocolate maker to label their product with its percentage (of cocoa solids) and its origin. That origin has become all important and specifically in ensuring chocolate comes from a single origin rather than a rag-bag assortment of where ever was cheapest. Single origin chocolate links the product back to the growers and the plantations, meaning authenticity of product, trace-ability and accountability are all paramount.

The chocolate industry suffers in the way many luxury, high end industries do from exploitation and corruption. Valrhona was the first company to extricate itself from that and begin talking about their product in terms similar to wine and coffee, where it comes from, its credentials, the year it was grown, it’s ‘vintage’.

The iconic black bags of couverture, pellets and pearls are labelled with exotic names like Xocopili 72% and Araquani 72%, Guanaja 70%, Caraibe 66% and Tanariva 33%. They come from plantations in places like Ecuador and Madagascar. There’s a great respect for the people who grow the beans and the places that rely on the chocolate industry as an important part of their economic sustainability.

Valrhona was established in 1922 in France by pastry chef Alberic Guironnet. It’s been through a number of owners since then, taking its most recent name from a blend of Valley and Rhone where it originated. It’s a company with a strong tradition and with quality as its driving value. At The Picnic we choose to use it because of that quality. It means we can make the very best chocolate work. But also we support and respect the way the chocolate we make can be traced back to the people who grew the bean. When you taste our chocolate work you are validating a long history of quality craftsmanship, but also paying homage to the all the people and all their various skills that have worked so hard to make that mouthful possible.

Sugar Day

Maybe your day is Wednesday or maybe you save it for the weekend, but more and more people are circumventing sugar and keeping this simple pleasure to just one day a week. Then on that day, you treat yourself to the best and only the best. No rushed moro bar in the car for this sugar-free devotee.

Make The Picnic your place to unleash the sweet beast: You know you’re in for a treat when you see our display cabinets shining with Gold Cakes. We call them Gold Cakes because each little lovely sits on its own gold disc. Flavour combinations change weekly but which ever you choose you know your one sweet treat this week is worth it, and the flavour-memory will last through to next time.

You might save yourself for a few delicious chocolates, each with its own party of flavours happening inside. You might eat a donut. Or a cruffin – these are a specialty and they change everyday.

Sharing the experience is another lovely way to celebrate deliciousness. Call it a date and meet up with a mate. A quick sandwich at your desk can be balanced beautifully with a long black and a verrine. And because verrines are served in a jar make your sugar day last by eating half for lunchtime dessert and half for 3pm energy slump.

We change our flavours to suit our mood and what’s good from our suppliers. Check Instagram for flavour updates or just come in on your sugar-day and we’ll see you right.

At The Picnic we celebrate sugar by treating it well and using it cleverly. We sweeten in tandem with spice and sharpness, bitterness, citrus and sour. Sugar shouldn’t shout. It doesn’t need to. It plays a similar role to salt – and sometimes the two work together – in supporting other flavour profiles to be the best they can be.

Art Deco picnic in style

Art Deco Weekend is on this weekend in Napier. It’s our annual excuse to dress up and eat with the nice china.  And we all know nothing goes nicer with Art Deco than a picnic hamper full of goodies.  The Great Gatsby Picnic is a highlight of the Weekend so do it in style!  It’s Sunday 21 Feb from 1-5! This year, add a contemporary twist to your annual Art Deco outing with a box of yummies from The Picnic.  It’s up to you what to include but here’s what sounds good to us (for two): 2 tomato and mozzarella galettes, 2 ham and cheese croissants, 2 verrines, 2 small salad boxes, some chocolates and a bag of bite-sized cookies, all packed inside a pretty picnic box ready to go!  Come in to The Picnic or call us on 06 651 0194.

Milo and Mitzy say Hi!

Thanks to our friends at Milo and Mitzy for the beautiful write up of what we’re doing here at Eat Drink Share.  Here’s a taster, read more (and enjoy the terrific photos) here.

On a personal note, what attracts me to Eat Drink Share HB is the way that Jennifer strives to new levels in each of her four eateries. Every one of them are different in their own way. They each bring something distinctive to the table.

Happy Valentine’s

Love is in the air thanks to Valentine’s Day this coming weekend. It can be a bit of a saccharine event ol’Valentines when it’s done with a box of Roses or a rose wrapped in cellophane.

When you love someone, or even just like someone a whole lot, it’s nice to use VDay as an excuse to introduce them to something new, or share something you enjoy with them, or treat them to an experience that’s not ‘everyday’.

We’re giving you two ways to make this happen. At The Picnic we’re creating some very special chocolate work. Flavour combinations are adventurous and each piece is hand created so that ticks the Something New box.

At Smiths we’re hosting a Valentines dinner on Saturday 13th Feb. This is a 6-course meal with three dessert courses. That’s Something Special done and dusted.

And if this Valentines sees you popping the question, keep us in mind for your Big Day. We love weddings! We can provide the cake, the favours and the dessert bar to top off your celebrations.

Love is sweet, enjoy it with us.

Bareknuckle BBQ Friday Night Pop-Ups

Auckland escapee Jimmy Macken is ‘popping up’ at Smiths on Fridays, starting 18 Dec and cruising on through the summer. Jimmy is Mister BBQ, Texas style. He’s a master of the art with a big-rig ‘pit’ he uses to authentically ‘bbq’ ribs, brisket and pulled pork. It’s a style of cooking Kiwis flirt with but it takes time to get right, not just cooking time but years of practice, time to tweak technique and perfect secret recipes.

Smiths is stoked to have Jimmy in the house, he’s big on energy, with big flavours to match. Come down and try ‘em: Friday 18 Dec, then 3rd, 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th January. It’s a Friday night cook-out with craft beer, picnic treats, ice creams on sticks, brownie with dairy whip, caramel corn.

Book a big table and round up a posse!

Eat My Lunch

Who doesn’t have a culinary crush on Michael Meredith?! Right? Well now the eponymous chef of Auckland’s Merediths is showing his altruistic side by coming on board Eat My Lunch, which gifts a lunch to a child with every gourmet lunch sold.

The initiative has just won the Excellence in Social Innovation prize at the 2015 NZ Innovators Awards and rightly so.

It’s a worthy cause, well done and a great idea to boot. And with Meredith on board it’s tasty, in more ways than one.

By the book

Smiths is chuffed to be included in the New Zealand Cafe Cookbook. It’s a cool book that takes a sweeping tour around the country stopping off at favourite eateries – imagine the caffeine rush trying a short black at ALL these amazing places included in the pages!

The big deal for us was being able to share recipes with readers. We have two included: our coconut roasted pumpkin salad bowl and our white chocolate and passion fruit lamingtons.

I shouldn’t mention the C word so soon but if you are looking for a sweet Christmas gift, especially for ex-pats home sick for a decent flat white and a contemporary twist on a classic lamington, this is perfect!

Special Guest

Unna Burch from My Garden Kitchen and The Forest Cantina is coming to Hawke’s Bay to do a food styling and photography workshop at Opera Kitchen! We are so chuffed to have her. She’ll be here on Sunday 22 November from 1-4pm and the workshop price is $150. Unna is an amazing stylist and cook and has some stunning techniques. She’s a vibrant and bubbly person and this workshop will be really special. There’s a lovely video about Unna here, made as part of the launch of her book. You can book your place through her blog.

You’re our people

People is the key to lifting what we do above mere ingredients, recipes, techniques. People bring creativity, ingenuity and verve.

The men and women who pour your perfect cup, those behind the scenes who cook and bake and clean and make, all of you, bringing us your appetites and your open minds, your loyalty, and your taste buds, you’re all our people.

Then there are the people who flit in, make magic, flit out.

We’ve had some special guests working behind the scenes over this busy period, with opening The Picnic. They are not there to take centre stage, but to bolster and mentor the talent we have in our kitchen and front of house. They guide and support, and when they think their job is done, they flit off again. We, of course, want them to stay, not to hold our hands but to enjoy the fun!

So thank you people! People who come to eat and drink and share, and people too who come each day to pull on your aprons and do your bit for the team. You’re the real oil that keeps us cranking.




Footer background
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
+64 6-870 6020

Drop us a line

Thank you very much for your message. We will be in touch. Ooops! Something is missing. Please validate your fields.
© 2016 eatdrinksharehb. All rights reserved.